Yes, weight loss is like a journey. BUT the metaphor is misleading and can lead to regain.
Why? Because this is not a journey to some mountain top after which we get to say "I made it to the top of Fuji!" (or Kilimanjaro or Mt. Washington or whatever destination you choose) and get a T-shirt and go home.
This is not a journey like a race somewhere that you get to cross a finish line and say "Yay! I ran 26 miles!" (or rode 100 or my bike! or swam a mile! or whatever goal you choose) and get your medal and go home.
THERE IS NO GOING HOME.
Because your destination IS HOME.
Let me repeat that.
YOUR DESTINATION IS HOME.
In other words, this is not like a trip to some vacationland from which you plan on returning. Unless you really WANT to gain the weight back??? (You don't, do you? I sure don't.)
THIS IS A RELOCATION. YOU ARE MOVING TO YOUR NEW "HOME."
Your current location is a barren wasteland. Where you are uncomfortable with how things are. You are going to a happy place, of comfort. Things in this new place may be unfamiliar. You will have to make adjustments. But you are going there because you believe you will have a better life.
YOU ARE EMIGRATING.
If you do not see your goal as your new home, you will surely not stay there. How can you?
I have no idea what a "normal" person eats. I guess that depends on your definition of "normal."
What a standard American eats will not keep the weight off, that's for sure. See this article for some numbers:
This came up because I found myself writing a novel-sized comment on a blog by SARA72121 that asked "Will I ever be able to eat like a normal person?"
Sara is very good at losing weight consistently. She rocked it in a recent "last one out" team challenge. I have tremendous respect for her abilities. And I'm re-posting my comment here as a blog topic in its own right, because I think it's important.
Maybe some of those people she sees are treating themselves and won't eat for the rest of the day. Maybe they're only taking two bites and leaving the rest on the plate. Maybe some of them are competitive swimmers and burn 12,000 calories in training per day. Maybe some of them are hyperthyroid and have a high basal metabolic rate.
I eat ice cream. I do. A kiddie-sized scoop in a hand-made waffle cone.
But I only do it once a month, only at the awesome place that makes their own that was written up in the NY Times, and I track it. Most of the people I see eating ice cream there are either obese or young (i.e. not yet obese). Some are just overweight. A few are healthy-looking.
But I know what I need to eat in order to keep my size at a happy place, and in the end I guess that's all that matters, because that's where I want to be.
If you don't think of a maintenance level and quality of food as "normal" then you will surely gain the weight back. I agree. And I've lived it, too. In my 20s I lost over 100 lbs and then gained it all back plus almost 100 more.
It doesn't matter what is "normal" for anyone else. What matters is MY new normal. The amount and type of food that fuels the activities I like to do and keeps me comfortable with how I feel. The amount and type of food that lets me stay "home."
Once I started seeing it that way fighting the occasional regain wasn't so onerous. I didn't feel like "Oh crap, here we go again. And I've already been there, so it's no longer novel or exciting."
Instead it was, "Oh man, I wanna go HOME again. where I can wear my favorite clothes again. Where I like how I feel and what I see in the mirror."
And that is the difference for me. It is subtle, but I think it's important.
I have to credit one of my spin instructors for explaining to me that she sees it that way. But once I got it, it really clicked. Maybe it will help you, too.